PLANNING Managers have approved a belated replacement request for a quay wall that has been determined to be in danger of a “catastrophic” collapse.
Associated British Ports (ABP) carried out work at Eling Wharf because the condition of the wooden piers posed a “clear and imminent” threat to public safety.
The upgrade included an L-shaped section of the wall on the east side of the Eling Creek, which flows into the Test River.
Now, the New Forest District Council has approved the work, which was carried out without a building permit.
The statement retroactively said: “A report commissioned by ABP concluded that the condition of the wall was close to catastrophic, as much of the wood had rotted away.
“ABP was committed to ensuring that the site was well protected from testing and that any health and safety issues related to the wall’s poor condition were resolved as quickly as possible.
“There was a clear and immediate public safety risk if the wall were to collapse.
“So ABP decided to work immediately and then get permission.”
The petition says the project, which affected an 85-meter section of the wharf, was necessary to address “significant” risks associated with the condition of rotting timber.
Eling Wharf is home to commercial buildings, warehouses and container yards.
An exclusion zone was established around part of the 40-hectare site in 2021, fearing the stability of the wall, according to the Daily Echo.
People arriving and leaving Eling Creek were warned to stay at least five meters away from the pier.
At the time, ABP stated: “As a precautionary measure, we have issued a warning to seafarers with a small exclusion zone around the part that needs the most attention.
“This is to keep kayakers, paddlers and other people using the water a safe distance from the wall.”
The council’s report, outlining its decision, stated: “The height, location and extent of the section of wall being replaced is essentially the same as the derelict timber wall it replaced.”
The report acknowledges that the rule will affect the location of historic buildings in the area.
But he added: “The work was necessary for security reasons and to keep the site running as an existing commercial and employment site.
“In this case, the public interest outweighs the harm.”
Author: Chris Yandel